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Primary Day Is Here: We Need Your Help!

Text your ballot stories to WNYC and It's A Free Country

Monday, September 13, 2010

(sean dreilinger/flickr)

As you have been hearing, one of the big story lines this election season is the switch to a new ballot design. Will your experience be like Brian and Azi's (not so smooth)? WNYC and It's A Free Country want to know. Text BALLOT to 30644 to share your experience using the new paper ballot. We'll text you back with all the instructions you need. On primary day, we'll be using your stories to enhance our coverage.Text right now and you'll receive a reminder on primary day. (Your carrier's standard messaging rates apply.)

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Comments [25]

Susie from Queens

I voted. The creepiest part was when poll workers took my ballot out of the folder, looked at it, and then placed it in the scanner for me. I hadn't asked for help, so it seems this is what they were doing with everyone. I said to the two women, "You're looking at my votes," and they just laughed. But it looks like I voted successfully.

Sep. 14 2010 03:16 PM
Sue from Upper West Side

The 2 scanners were broken when I arrived at PS 163, so poll workers said I could either fill in the ballot and then give it to them to scan later, or come back later in the day. I went ahead and filled it in, by which time the scanners were working.

But I was concerned: The voters who left ballots to be scanned in later were NOT offered instruction on filling in the circles completely and only with the pen offered. So if their ballots were marked with X's or checks, or with the wrong marker, they would not be accepted. Because their ballots would not be scanned until later, the voters would not know that their votes would not count.

Why not put instructions in the "privacy booths" to fill in circles completely and to use only the pen provided?

Sep. 14 2010 01:22 PM
Neal Rosenstein/NYPIRG from NYC

Poll workers work long days and many should be commended for their efforts. But my experience was disturbing. At 7:30 am I found my poll site at John Jay High School in Park Slope still being organized - ED tables and workers being shifted.

The poll worker at my table handed me by ballot without an offer of explanation or asking if I would like a privacy sleeve to help conceal my choices while inserting it into the scanner. I wasn't even told that I should go to the scanner after filling out my ballot.

The promise of optical scan to enfranchise voters is being threatened by inadequate resources, an outdated patronage system at Boards of Elections and poor decisions by the State Board of Elections. The new Governor should demand a review of the state's efforts to introduce this new technology.

Sep. 14 2010 01:06 PM
Catherine Nieves from Massapequa - Nassau County

My personal list of reasons for voting for Kathleen Rice go back to when she first ran for Nassau County District Attorney. Here are only 6 of them:
• Kathleen Rice has been extremely tough and effective against crime in Nassau County including her vigorous campaign against drunk driving.
• In the Nassau County Prosecutors office she successfully ended the corrupt practice of "allowing" (i.e. requiring) employees in the prosecutors to do political campaigning,
• She is pro-choice and successfully defeated the late Dennis Dillon who was famous for picketing family planning clinics in Nassau County, while on the county payroll.
• She is the only candidate who supports the rights of all individuals to marry regardless of their sexual orientation.
• She successfully negotiated a deal with Walmart after that terrible trampling incident to make their stores safe for the employees and shoppers showing she’ll stand up to big business. As a result, she later won the endorsement of the entire retail workers union.
• As Nassau DA, she has had a uniquely broad approach to crime. The centerpiece is vigorous & effective prosecution. Surrounding that is her steadfast advocacy of crime victims, an amazingly effective community crime prevention effort which has made Hempstead safe, and on the other end, programs for rehabilitating ex-criminals.
Kathleen has been a tough prosecutor for her entire legal career-in Brooklyn before Nassau. She has been a VISIONARY District Attorney for Nassau County expanding the roll along the way. I firmly believe she is the only candidate with the vision, toughness and independence to be the effective Attorney General we need for New York State. She has and will fight criminals and crime, big and small and stand up for all New Yorkers.

Sep. 14 2010 11:28 AM
Sick of It All from Hell

Can someone please tell me which crook or reprobate I should cast my vote for? Should it be the whoremonger on "our" side or the public funds skimmer on "their" side? Should I vote for the creep who matches my race and ethnicity? How exciting!

Sep. 14 2010 11:26 AM
John from Bushwick

I voted in Bushwick Brooklyn IS162. The process was incredibly easy and the election workers were knowledgeable and helpful. My two concerns are the size and design of the paper ballot. The font was really small and the layout made it unclear to discern where one category ended and the next began. Also there was a disturbing lack of privacy! I was sent to fill out my paper ballot in the "privacy booth" which was a row of metal stands with 2 foot screens separating each voter. Then I had to walk across the room to seek the assistance of an election worker (i didn't want the assistance but they insisted) to help scan the ballot. Why can't the scanner be inside the old style ballot booth?

Sep. 14 2010 11:08 AM
NKS from Chelsea

Voted just now at Penn South in Chelsea, where the old people who run the pole were moaning about how difficult it all was, and were mixed up about getting the number of the ballot and the voting card to be the same. There was no line so I got in and out pretty quickly. I watched Brian and Azi's video so I knew to expect small type and to check the back of the ballot, and my ballot went smoothly through the scanner. I wonder though how much hassle this will add to elections that voters actually show up for. It seems like it could take years before people become comfortable with the new way.

Sep. 14 2010 11:07 AM
Sarah from Lower East Side

No lines or machine problems at my polling place. But for the first time ever, my name wasn't on the list of registered voters, so I had to fill out an affidavit & complete a provisional ballot. Bummer.

Sep. 14 2010 11:05 AM
Sophia from Westchester

The Republicans seem more democratic than the Democrats. Democratic voters were not given a chance to vote for Governor. Cuomo should have been on the ballot with an opportunity to wrie in an alternative.

Sep. 14 2010 11:01 AM
Susie from Queens

Re: your [I <3 NY] guest's comment that there was no 'orientation' before the voting experience, I did receive a flyer in the mail describing what to expect today (it says 'it's as easy as 1-2-3'...).
I am about to go vote so we'll see how it goes...

Sep. 14 2010 11:00 AM
Cory from Greenpoint

I arrived at my polling station at 8:15 to find a line of 4 voters outside and a locked door. They still hadn't opened due to problems with the new machines. I called a voter protection hotline and had to leave to go to work.

Sep. 14 2010 10:52 AM
Nez from Hell's Kitchen

Voted in Mid-town at 10:30AM and it was completely painless. No line, Ballot was easy to comprehend, though the type is too small. Scanner worked without a hitch. All fine, though I miss the sound of the old machine.

Sep. 14 2010 10:51 AM
TK from W 97th St.

Upper West Side, 97th Street: First one scanner, then both scanners broke down (at 9:15 a.m. or so). They finally brought out the "emergency ballot box" and we stuffed all of ours in. But before they straightened it all out, I was in line for 45 minutes. Also it was about 95 degrees in there (and the head election worker attributed the scanner breakdown to the heat). Bring back the lever machines!

Sep. 14 2010 10:47 AM
mary from rockland from Rockland

The scanner jammed and it took 4 tries for the ballot to be accepted. The poll watcher eyeballed the ballot to be sure it was filled out correctly. So much for secret ballots.

Sep. 14 2010 10:40 AM
Daphne from Harlem-10037

I voted at 9:03. There was no line. It was simple and fast. The ballots are bound in a pad to retain numerical sequence. The poll worker carefully removed my ballot, I went to the marking station, colored in the bubbles, then I went to the scanning station and presto! My vote was cast.
I just hope there are no signs of electronic vote tampering, etc. That is why I like the paper ballot.

Sep. 14 2010 10:35 AM
Baratunde Thurston from Brooklyn, NY

I arrived at Brooklyn Technical High School to vote this morning around 8:30am and was stunned to find a long line of young voters. I was then relieved to realize they were students eagerly lining up for their regularly scheduled educational programming.

The gym was quite empty, and my election worker was decked out in his Obama gear. Adorable. For him, I think Election Day will always be Obama Day

As for the voting itself. It was underwhelming. I prefer the old machines. When I vote, I want to feel like I've just launched a torpedo. This is America, right?

Sep. 14 2010 10:32 AM
Andy from Kensington

I voted at the elementary school on Av C (P.S. 179 I believe). I had to deposit my paper ballot in the Emergency Ballot Box.
The poll workers said that the scanners had been inoperative since the poll opened.
They were awaiting the arrival of a technician to get the scanners working.
this was approximately 9:15 AM.

Sep. 14 2010 10:30 AM
Smee from New Rochelle

I voted in New Rochelle and did not like the experience. My privacy was compromised when the pol worker watched me put the paper ballot into the machine. They need to provide more privacy for the ballot

Sep. 14 2010 10:20 AM
Mary from Manhattan from 10025

I had a very disappointing experience with the new voting system this morning. My polling place has about 10 different election districts, each of which used to have its own separate voting machine. Today there were 2 scanners shared amongst all the districts and only one was working for most of the time I was there. I spend 35 minutes online and the scanner jammed when I finally got to submit my ballot. According to one of the workers, it was giving a system error for each voter. Seemed like a complete waste of our tax dollars. I also felt the confidentiality of our votes was compromised.
I must give credit, however, to the polling place workers. All in all, they remained quite calm and collected despite the problems.

Sep. 14 2010 10:18 AM
Sanya Popovic

The paper ballot voting experience at first seemed retro ~ like a move back to rotary phones. But it was super simple and hard to make a mistake with the forms (when I was a child my nanny pulled the wrong level and thus voted for Nixon, something she never lived done ~ something like that seems a lot less likely with these). At my polling place (Julia Richman High School on E. 67th St) there were no snags or lines ~ it all went smoothly and quickly.

Sep. 14 2010 10:16 AM
Leslie from Manhattan

At my voting place in Chelsea as of 9:30 p.m. One optical scanner was down. The place wasn't crowded, but there were just enough places to actually fill out the paper ballot. And the polling place workers were disorganized. We will really be in trouble at the next "real" election.

Sep. 14 2010 10:10 AM
Torrance from NYC

Start to finish in Brooklyn's 78th Precinct, it took me all of 10 minutes to vote - and that includes waiting in a line of about five people at the Election District 51 table, and the sign-in staff getting up to replenish their supply of and provide me with a "privacy sleeve" manila folder (and answering a ringing cell phone). But I wondered, as I walked away marveling at how easy it was: Is the rapidity with which I voted this morning due to election-day efficiency or New York's notoriously low voter turnout? Hmm -- tie-breaker.

Sep. 14 2010 10:09 AM
A.K. from Boerum Hill Brooklyn

I had no trouble using the new ballot and optical scanner. There was no line and no waiting between the two stations. However, I'm concerned about bottlenecks during general elections, when I am accustomed to seeing lines at my polling place in Boerum Hill. The old machines were very simple: in and out. I hate to say it, but I'm afraid that the multiple steps will result in fewer people completing their ballots.

Sep. 14 2010 09:53 AM
Donald from Flushing

I went to my polling station this morning and was told that both Scanners were not working. I filled out the ballot and was told to put it in a slot underneath the scanner. I don't understand how two brand new scanners don't work. Weren't these things ever tested? I have no idea if my vote will ever be counted or just stay in that slot until November.
BOE- Bring back the old lever machines or get your act together and make sure your machines work on voting day!

Sep. 14 2010 09:43 AM
Jean from New York, NY 10009

I tried to vote the new way at the 42 ED / 74 AD, Stuyvesant Town 2, 16 Stuyvesant Oval, Stuyvesant Town, Manhattan. Because a "coordinator" did not show up, the only way to vote was by paper ballot, which I declined to do. I will try again tonight and vote by paper ballot if I must, but I very much wanted to try the new system before the November elections.

Sep. 14 2010 09:06 AM

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